Art Libraries Society of
This session was generously sponsored by Prestel Publishing
Robert Shibley, Professor, University
Emily Axelrod, Director, Rudy Bruner Foundation
Lily Yeh, Founder,
Robert Belstein, Executive
Tao, University at
Carole Ann Fabian introduced the session, stating that the Rudy Bruner Foundation Awards for Urban Excellence http://www.brunerfoundation.org/p/rba.html seek to encourage and recognize innovative thinking and excellence in urban design achieved through community collaboration. She described the development of Rudy Bruner Foundation Award Digital Archive (RBADA), which aims to provide a useful urban design resource for architecture students and practitioners as they study precedents in their work. Locating full case sets that document urban design is difficult, but by providing interactive full text Web access to Rudy Bruner award-winning portfolios, the Digital Archive aims to remedy this problem. Carole Ann reviewed the capabilities of the Archive website, which will provide full-text searching by project, location, and participants, and is scheduled to go live in May 2004. With each new Bruner Competition, the winning portfolios will be indexed, scanned, and added to the Archive.
Emily Axelrod explained that the Bruner Awards celebrate urban projects that make contributions to the social environment and are outstanding examples of what makes place important in cities. Bruner winners include a broad spectrum of participants, with most awards geared toward design. Judges are comprised of an interdisciplinary panel, including mayors and community leaders who know urban conditions, as well as design professionals. Axelrod emphasized that the Bruner Award Process is unique, and is determined by the perceptions of selection committees who must achieve consensus on such issues as what is the nature of the project vision? Is it sustainable? What lessons that can be learned? The Bruner Foundation is enthusiastic about the Digital Archive as a means to improve accessibility to these examples of outstanding urban excellence for architecture and planning students and practitioners. Axelrod also touched on the new Bruner-sponsored Loeb Lecture Series which will focus on Open Urban Spaces.
Robert Shibley spoke from the vantage of his dual commitment both to place making and to teaching architecture and planning. Rather than praise the Rudy Bruner Digital Archive as “the answer” to precedent research, Shibley conjectured that the Bruner Award portfolios reflected a broad range of interdisciplinary concerns, that they should be seen as important documentation to be used as a resource for making places for people. By studying such original documentation, students and faculty can discover not only details and procedures of project implementation, but also “tease out” and discover the place and particular circumstances that contribute to the creation of such exemplary projects.
Bruner Award 2001 winner Lily Yeh, founder and executive director of the Village of Arts and Humanities in Philadelpha, PA http://www.brunerloeb.org/PDFs/BLF_CHI_Section4c_Village.pdf described the genesis and development of the Village which began in 1986 as a summer project involving neighborhood children in building a community garden in a devastated urban neighborhood. Yeh emphasized that the project was her vision, which developed through an organic process in art, expression, and theater. As a founder who required assistance from others, Yeh collaborated with members of the community, many of whom had had drug problems and other social difficulties, to enable them to express their shared ideas through rehabilitation of their neighborhood. Once the garden was created, leaders recognized the collaborative strengths of the community. Subsequently programs in arts education, youth theater, urban gardening, housing rehabilitation, and other community/economic development services such as daycare were developed with community participation and additional funding.
Executive Director of the 2003 Award-winning Red Hook Community Justice Center
(RHCJC), Red Hook, NJ http://www.brunerfoundation.org/p/2003_red_hook.html,
explained that the goal of this Center was to make the community a safer and
better place to live and at the same time improve participants’ and community
members’ perception of safety and of the justice system. Located in an
infamously troubled, isolated, low-income area of
Instead of situating the court as the center of the building, with the judges on high, the Center acted as a mechanism to bring the court and the community together. By providing not only the court, but also facilities to address local problems such as drug use, juvenile delinquency, and family dysfunction, questions at the community level about the fairness and accountability of the justice system were addressed. Support services on site include a drug treatment center, a training center with preventive programs and GED classes, a daycare center, educational workshops, and counseling. Rather than offering only a choice between jail and parole, those coming to court are made aware there are other options and support for achieving rehabilitation. Most importantly, said Belstein, RHCJC seeks to allow the court to address the issues that bring people before it on mostly relatively minor offences through rehabilitation, resulting in the reduction of recidivism.
Statistics in Red Hook indicate
a lower crime rate: 0% murder rate in
2003. 71 % of community residents now feel positive about the justice center, and
a majority feel more safe. The